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Thread: Re-creating Byte magazine covers

  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by rea5245 View Post
    I've looked into this a lot, and I'm quite certain I cannot legally sell my photos (unless I got permission from Tinney).

    There was a photograph of a bunch of cute puppies, lined up in a row. An artist made (and sold) 3D sculptured re-creations of it. The photographer sued and won. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogers_v._Koons)

    Remember the movie "Moscow on the Hudson" with Robin Williams? Its movie poster was an original painting that copied a concept originated by a New Yorker magazine cover. The artist of the cover sued and won (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steinb...ndustries,_Inc.). I've copied Tinney more closely than the movie copied the New Yorker, so I'd have no hope in a lawsuit.

    In these cases and others, courts have found that if you copy the non-obvious creative decisions that an artist made, then you're violating his copyright. So while Tinney hasn't copyrighted the concept of a train on a PCB, the fact that I closely imitated the type and position of all the PCB components, the colors, the type and position of the train, right down to the smoke rings, means I can't sell this without violating his copyright.

    Should I shake things up and make a photo of a train on a PCB that's substantially different from Tinney's? I could, but it would defeat my purpose (and make it less appealing to buyers). The reason my photos are interesting is that they are close imitations of Byte covers. If they weren't, no one would care.

    - Bob
    I didn’t realize you were wanting to sell the photos. That does change things. (I thought you just wanted to put the full resolution versions online and let people make their own prints, if they want.)

    I was talking about this with a lawyer friend this afternoon and he said my analysis is a correct reading of the copyright laws, however things change if you profit from a work based on another work. He brought up Koons, but said the difference is that he copied the work for profit. Those postcards also had a recent re-printing at the time Koons copied them, whereas Tinney’s posters haven’t been in print in some time.

    If you simply released the high resolution version of the image on your website you should be safe. Worst case scenario Tinney could file a DMCA takedown against your provider and have the image taken down, but since you’re not profiting from the work there would be little incentive to sue you (especially since, as far as I know, his work is no longer being officially in print, which means Tinney is no longer profiting from them).

    Hell, do you even know he actually owns the rights to them? For all I know Byte Magazine could own the rights to them.

    (My friend is a patent lawyer, so while he doesn’t specifically deal with copyright I still think it’s sound advise.)

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by timb View Post
    however things change if you profit from a work based on another work.
    I find that hard to believe. Giving away free copies of something would decrease the value that the copyright owner can get for his work, so he would be damaged. Also, consider the recent situation with Star Trek fan films: the fans making the films were not profiting from them, but CBS had the right to shut them down anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by timb View Post
    Tinney’s posters haven’t been in print in some time.
    Copyrights last for a certain number of years, regardless of whether the owner is printing more for sale. The copyright still has value because the owner can choose to start printing more at any time.

    Quote Originally Posted by timb View Post
    Hell, do you even know he actually owns the rights to them? For all I know Byte Magazine could own the rights to them.
    He was selling prints and t-shirts from his web site, so I assume he owned at least some of the rights.

    - Bob

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by rea5245 View Post
    I find that hard to believe. Giving away free copies of something would decrease the value that the copyright owner can get for his work, so he would be damaged. Also, consider the recent situation with Star Trek fan films: the fans making the films were not profiting from them, but CBS had the right to shut them down anyway.



    Copyrights last for a certain number of years, regardless of whether the owner is printing more for sale. The copyright still has value because the owner can choose to start printing more at any time.



    He was selling prints and t-shirts from his web site, so I assume he owned at least some of the rights.

    - Bob
    The Star Trek fan films violate CBS’s trademarks. Trademark != Copyright. Plus that’s apples to oranges. You’re comparing a multi-million dollar franchise to a guy who made some paintings for a magazine 30+ years ago.

    Yes, copyrights last for a certain number of years. That wasn’t my point. My point was, if the author can show a continuing profit from the work, he has more leverage in a copyright suit. If the work has been out of print for 20 years he can’t claim your work negatively impacts him financially. (Though based on your comment it appears Tinney was selling prints from his website a few years ago, however the website is gone now so that’s no longer true.)

    Again, this is coming from an actual attorney, so take it for what it’s worth: As long as the author isn’t currently selling prints of the work, you’re not violating any trademarks, your work is unique and you’re not profiting from it, the odds of being sued for copyright infringement are next to nothing. A DMCA action maybe, but not a lawsuit. If Tinney has deep pockets he could hire a lawyer to sue you, but no lawyer would take a case like this on contingency; either way they’d be hard pressed to win any damages.

    If you’re that worried about it, just create a parachute account on Flickr or something and upload the originals there, anonymously. If it can’t be traced back to you, you can’t be sued.
    Last edited by timb; May 27th, 2018 at 08:08 AM.

  4. #14
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    FYI, I emailed tinney's email address from an archive of the site asking if prints were still available for sale, and Susan Tinney responded, who then forwarded my request to Robert, who is getting back to me with a list of what is still available. I also offered help from the community for getting his site back online (like free hosting). Will update if there are any developments.
    Offering a bounty for:
    - The software "Overhead Express" (doesn't have to be original, can be a copy)
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775, Olivetti M24, or Logabax 1600
    - Documentation and original disks for: Panasonic Sr. Partner, Zenith Z-160 series
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by timb View Post
    Again, this is coming from an actual attorney, so take it for what it’s worth: As long as the author isn’t currently selling prints of the work, you’re not violating any trademarks, your work is unique and you’re not profiting from it, the odds of being sued for copyright infringement are next to nothing. A DMCA action maybe, but not a lawsuit. If Tinney has deep pockets he could hire a lawyer to sue you, but no lawyer would take a case like this on contingency; either way they’d be hard pressed to win any damages.
    Your advice echos that from another lawyer I interviewed for an old article on abandonware. Long story short: If the assets are beyond economic recovery, there is no incentive to sue.

    If it can’t be traced back to you, you can’t be sued.
    Until this thread is destroyed and/or the original linked images removed, that is currently impossible.
    Offering a bounty for:
    - The software "Overhead Express" (doesn't have to be original, can be a copy)
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775, Olivetti M24, or Logabax 1600
    - Documentation and original disks for: Panasonic Sr. Partner, Zenith Z-160 series
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)

  6. #16
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    Received word from Susan Tinney that the website is in the process of being brought up to date
    Offering a bounty for:
    - The software "Overhead Express" (doesn't have to be original, can be a copy)
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775, Olivetti M24, or Logabax 1600
    - Documentation and original disks for: Panasonic Sr. Partner, Zenith Z-160 series
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by rea5245 View Post
    I'd still like to hear about what you've done. And if you were to upload small, low res images that would not be useful to make prints from, I think you could claim they are covered by fair use. That's what I did on my site with the Tinney re-creations: I posted a 280x280 image that gives you an idea of what I've done, but would only produce a print one inch square.
    There are already low-resolution images of that cover/artwork available, e.g. here's one: https://archive.org/stream/PC-Mag-19...ge/n0/mode/2up
    int10h.org :: :: :: blog

  8. #18

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    I have contacted Robert Tinney and he has given me written permission to sell prints of my photographic re-creations of his Byte covers.

    I've set up a site, ByteCovers.com, to do just that.

    - Bob

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